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Is palstar speakers worth the price?

Discussion in 'Microphones, Speakers & Audio Processing' started by KB4MNG, Feb 17, 2012.

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  1. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been looking for a good speaker. Nothing fancy and I'm not worried about it matching my equipment. I've discovered palstar products. Man they are expensive. I don't mind paying it if the performance is there. What do you think? Can I get an 8 ohm 6 inch speaker and make one myself that is just as good?

    thanks Brian KB4MNG
  2. N4IAG

    N4IAG Ham Member QRZ Page

  3. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have no comment on the commercial speakers. If what you want is a plain vanilla speaker, then yes, any decent speaker salvaged from a stereo etc, is suitable. Mount it any way you choose, in a box, on a board, whatever. When you compare the tiny 2" speakers in most rigs, anything bigger; 4", 6", 8" and pointed at your head instead of the shelf above the rig is going to be much more intelligible.

    As far as DSP, I don't want anything between me and the signal. I suspect many ops are just happy to have less static noise without realizing what they are missing.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think the Palstar speaker is nutty.

    11" x 8-1/4" x 10" and rated 25 Watts? For ham radio?

    Personally, I'd say, "Are you kidding?"

    My choice in speakers is and always has been to use two of them at all times and place them very close to your ear. You'll hear signals you absolutely cannot hear in any kind of speaker.

    The ones shown below are $99 direct, but $75 on and often found cheaper than that at large retail outlets. They are absolutely perfect:

    Attached Files:

  5. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I agree with Steve;
    With good headphone not only do you get as close to the speaker as you can but you also are less likely to suffer from listening fatigue.

    I use cast off speakers from stereo gear, they work well and if you have a radio with a tone control you are that much more ahead.
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I could never stand to listen to "ham radio" via a speaker.

    The only time I ever use a speaker is in the car, and I don't like it then. I hate to hear the influence of the environment (room acoustics).

    I don't have to hear any of that with headphones, they really are perfect.
  7. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    At many garage sales there are speakers from all sorts of defunct "hi fi" systems that go for a dollar or two. That kind of price is VERY hard to beat!

    As for headphones: Most of the time I don't like to use them. I have headphones that range from Western-Electric with a patent date in 1918 to padded military types to "stereo". Unless there is some reason to hold down the noise, and since my main shack is on the opposite side of the house from the bedrooms, that doesn't happen very often! Or, when I am really digging out a very weak station from the noise level, I do use headphones. The rest of the time, having something on my head just "bothers" me.

    Back in the 1970s and early 1980s, my company was an authorized David-Clark repair center for their headsets. We got involved with this because ARCO was using hundreds of David-Clark headsets with their Motorola radios and ARCO's national headquarters was a little over a mile away from my office. Since ARCO was purchasing a large number of reconditioned Motorola portable units, the Motorola account managers got us involved with reconditioning the David-Clark headphones because the ARCO employees were "hard" on them around oil drilling rigs, refineries, etc. David-Clark didn't really want to deal with the reconditioning and was happy when Motorola made the deal between them and my company.

    Glen, K9STH
  8. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Those are good headphones and efficient at that.
    About twelve years ago SONY made some low end headphones that were both comfortable and reasonably good in terms of reproductive quality. I have a pair and they are long in the tooth.
    They are not made anymore and a C Note isn't that much to spend on good headphones.
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I guess I never got used to listening to shortwave or amateur radio signals using speakers.

    From my earliest SWL days in the early 60's, I used sensitive hi-Z headphones and receivers that had no audio amplifiers (simple stuff!) and heard all sorts of things. Then I graduated to real receivers that had audio stages and speakers and they never sounded good to me, I was too used to headphones.

    Plus, I did "A/B" comparisons many times at home and in other people's ham shacks. I'd visit lots of guys who used only speakers and hated headphones. So, I'd tune around on "his" rig and find a weak signal just above the noise, and call that station and work the guy. In the middle of the contact, I'd unplug the phones and say to the station owner, "How's this guy sound?" and of course the answer would be "What guy? I don't hear anything."


    I'm just so used to it after nearly 50 years of using headphones exclusively that now almost all speakers sound lousy to me, and I don't feel like I'm wearing anything. If I sit in front of a rig, I plop on the "cans." It's just automatic.
  10. N4IAG

    N4IAG Ham Member QRZ Page

    The poster asked about speakers not headphones. I like headphones too, but I'm a part of the house where I can 'make noise' and often I'm working on the computer or whatever and don't want to be wearing headphones to hear the radio.

    Some speakers just sound better than others. For example, to me a large communication freq response speaker sounds better than one made for music. Probably due to my tinnitus. I Just think it's a personal choice for whatever sounds best to you.
  11. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I use cordless headphones for that. I have three sets, from SONY, Sennheiser and ones labeled "RCA," but I'm not certain who made those. They operate in the 800 MHz or 2.4 GHz bands and they have incredible range...I can walk the dog and still be monitoring my ham gear even if I get a few blocks away. And they sound great, and are comfortable.

    Using headphones doesn't mean you need a cord.
  12. M0JMO

    M0JMO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Any fairly sensitive centre speaker meant for surround sound should work really well.

    They are specifically tuned for speech/voice and unless you want a big brand name with piano-black finish, they can be had for less than ham radio speakers.
  13. K5PO

    K5PO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have one of Palstar's older speakers. It is a very nice speaker. SP30, I think. I'm pretty sure I paid $50 for it new. It looks like the pricing has got carried away now.

    That said, I agree with many about good headphones over a speaker. 95% of my listening is through headphones.
  14. WD5JOY

    WD5JOY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sheesh ......... ask about "speakers" and the "head"-phone info flows; what did I miss here?:confused: ............... $160.00 :cool:and it will be the best $$$ you ever spent. These fellows are great, worth the $$$ and every speaker setup is hand made - not mass produced - made just for you! :DBest sounds (yup I said BEST) you'll EVER hear from a speaker DESIGNED for ham radio. I've had their products for 20 years +/- and would never buy anything else. Google 'em or read e-ham etc .......... worth the bucks indeed. Palstar is good ........ these are the proverbial 'gold standard' IMHO.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  15. NN4RH

    NN4RH Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's just a few hams who have a lot of time in the hobby suggesting alternatives that in their experience is a better solution than cheap speakers. Nothing to get worked up about.
  16. W0LPQ

    W0LPQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    5JOY you want to spend big money on amateur radio speakers ... have at it ... I can think of better ways to blow that kind of money. People have offered their ideas on why headphones are better, yet you decide to deride them since your $160 speaker is better. I doubt it. My Collins 312B-4 sounds good on SSB/CW as does the Drake MS-4 speaker and the Hammarlund matching speaker fore the HQ-140X. However, a good set of cans sound better than all of them. You don't like cans, that is fine. Don't deride those who do. Your choice is not their choice ... that simple.
  17. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page


    I suggest that you listen to a speaker that was designed for voice communications, like the old Motorola TSN-6000A, and compare it with your $160 speaker. Those particular Motorola speakers, of which hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, were manufactured, are tailored for the 300 Hz to 3000 Hz frequency range and, as such, work extremely well for amateur radio as well as the commercial two-way services for which they were intended. When new, those speakers cost in the $5 to $10 range and you can still find them in the $10 range.

    Those speakers use a 5-inch round speaker and the housing is metal with a die-cast front. There are no special baffles or any attempt at modifying the response except by the original design of the housing.

    General Electric had some speakers that are pretty good as well. However, at least in my experience, the Motorola TSN-6000A is among the best, if not "the" best, communications speakers made.

    Glen, K9STH
  18. WD5JOY

    WD5JOY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sorry dude (or do ya' prefer, "OM and HI-HI")? I've been around a few decades.... enough to know what I like. I have yo' permission, yes? Think it over and come back with a snappy reply.

    Yup. It's that simple. Don't like it? Tell Jesus. Sit on your 'can' and empty yer mind OM.... Hi-Dee-Hi-Dee-Ho!
    You a tough guy or sumpin'? Whooaaaaaa.... I be impressed. Know it alls abound. Opinions not allowed? I don't think so 'OM' or 'OMMF' as the case may be; I am not impressed. I sure as heck ain't intimidated by ya'!

    Listen? Well freakin' DUH! I did! Years and years ago! Then I bought one! Guess what! It works superbly 'OM'! Like yer $10.00 speakers? Good! It's YOUR "opinion" just like MINE is "MY OPINION!" You don't have a corner on the "opinion" market! Get the idea Glen? I doubt it; most likely another "elite nose in the air ham" who believes only his "opinion" is tha valid one. Whoopie Doopie! I have met the "elite" and he impresses me NOT!
    It's an 'opinion', not a 'decree'. Sorry if I offended ya' 'elite fellows my heart pumps wee-wee!
    I'll stand by what I said; if ya' don't like it - good! Mission freakin' accomplished! Hi-Hi indeed!

    Sounds Sweet speakers maximize intelligibility by reproducing the bass information missing in smaller communications and built-in radio speakers, without the hiss and mud produced by speakers not intended for communications voice and shortwave music use.

    The Sounds Sweet speaker came from the frustration of listening to internal and add-on external speakers that sounded tinny, hissy, and distorted. HIFI speakers were no solution either. They rumble and hiss. Their bass response extends too low and they have hissing tweeters.


    EFFICIENT - works directly wired to the speaker output jack of all radios. Even loud when fed by the headphone jack of a handheld HT or scanner. 95 dBSPL at 1 meter with 1 Watt!

    THE RIGHT BASS FOR INTELLIGIBILITY - much more bass than little internal and external speakers and much different bass than hifi speakers.

    Intelligibility is not made worse by bass but rather the wrong bass. The muddy bass of music speakers which are tuned to 30 or even 20 Hz hurts intelligibility. Artifacts below the lowest frequency of radio-voice, around 100 Hz, decrease intelligibility. But voice bass components between 100 Hz and the 300 Hz or even the 800 Hz cut-off of internal or other external speakers adds greatly to intelligibility, especially during noisy QSOs. And this bass adds tremendous enjoyment to good paths!

    HIGHS - accurate, clear, intelligible and hiss free. All other communications speakers have drivers capable of producing high frequencies in a range where there is no radio communication energy other than HISS! The dual-cone, wideband driver is optimized and optimal for SSB!

    Clear, natural, intelligible, clean, loud and fatigue free audio. Voices are full and bright without the hiss!

    Perfect for HF... Great for VHF & UHF too! Sounds Sweet - THE ULTIMATE SSB speaker!

    Don't believe us, read the reviews yourself !!

    Big Sound! Even if the cheapskates can't pop for $160.00! Mine's twenty+ years old and sounds as good as it did new. It still lets me copy the "elite snobs" and hope they shut the flock up ASAP. Gad! I so hate the 'elites" of 'Ultimate Snob - Big Old Blob - Ham Radios Know It Better Than Anyone Else Grumps"! They always seem to wiggle out every Sunday while momma's at church listnin' to da' the preacher man! You old grumps!
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  19. NN4RH

    NN4RH Subscriber QRZ Page

    OK. But only if you'll first explain why you'd use a $160 stereo speaker with subwoofer with an practically antique $75 Kenwood TM-261A 2 meter FM radio.


    Haven't I seen the same speaker at Best Buy for $79.99?
  20. NN4RH

    NN4RH Subscriber QRZ Page

    MFJ-281 at $13 would probably give you most of the improvement you seek, if you're only considering speakers and not interested in headphones.

    Most of the improvement comes from just not being mostly covered up by the radio chassis, and the sound coming towards you rather than up in the air above the radio.
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